Why Did Jesus Only Have 11 Disciples?

There are several theories and interpretations as to why Jesus had only 11 disciples, instead of the traditional 12. While there is no conclusive answer, many scholars and theologians have put forth various explanations.

One of the most widely accepted theories is that Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ original 12 disciples, betrayed him.

According to the Bible, Judas was handpicked by Jesus to be one of his closest followers. However, he ultimately betrayed Jesus by leading the soldiers who arrested him in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. This act led to Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

Another theory suggests that having 11 disciples was symbolic.

In many cultures and religions, the number 12 is considered significant. In Christianity specifically, there were 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles who followed Jesus.

However, after Judas’ betrayal and subsequent death, there were only 11 apostles left. This could symbolize imperfection or incompleteness.

Some scholars believe that having only 11 disciples was part of God’s plan.

In the Bible, it is said that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for everyone’s life. Some theologians interpret the fact that there were only 11 disciples left as being part of God’s divine plan. It has been suggested that this allowed for more focus on each individual disciple and their unique role in spreading Jesus’ message.


While we may never know exactly why Jesus had only 11 disciples, it is clear that this fact has not diminished his impact on Christianity or on humanity as a whole. Regardless of whether it was due to betrayal or symbolism or divine intervention, Jesus’ teachings continue to inspire people around the world today.


  • The Holy Bible (New International Version)
  • https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/bible-study/why-did-jesus-only-have-11-disciples.html
  • https://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-betray-Jesus.html